A proposal to increase marital age for women in Ghana is facing growing criticism from Muslim organizations, seeing it as opening the door to problems related to pre-marital sex and abortion which contradicts with the Islamic laws.
“There are significantly many development factors including biological, cultural, social and technological; which ensure that girls are physical matured for marriage by age 18,” the Imam and acting National Chairman of the Ghana Muslim Mission, Sheikh (Dr) Amin Bonsu, told Ghana Web on Monday, July 29.
“Delaying their marriage means we are going to experience more young girls getting pregnant without having responsible men who will care for them during pregnancy, child bearing and their babies,” he stated.
The proposal to increase marital age for women in Ghana from 18 to 23 was first suggested by Government Statistician Dr Philomina Nyarko.
According to Nyarko, the proposal would ensure that young women were physically, socially and psychologically prepared before bearing children.
Speaking at a news conference in Accra, Bonsu argued that child bearing at advanced age could also bring complications to many women.
Moreover, he referred to reports indicating that in the Central Region alone, nearly 14,000 girls got pregnant last year through pre-marital sex.
Sheikh Bonsu said lack of proper care for these pregnant girls could compel them to engage in unsafe abortion methods that could lead to high rates of maternal deaths in the country.
“This, therefore, posses the fear that delaying their marriage to 23 years will give room for more teenage pregnancies, illegal abortion, maternal deaths, HIV/AIDS, unplanned births and many more other consequences on these girls, their babies and the society at large,” Sheikh Bonsu stressed.
According to CIA factbook, Ghana is home to a Muslim population estimated by 17.6% of the country’s 25 million.